The Lost Art of Service

Dec 26, 2017 6:17:00 PM / by Jeff Knepper

The twelfth edition of a weekly Question and Answer column with Gary Stern, President and Founder of Canary Labs. Have a question you would like me to answer? Email  
Dear Mrs. Fan,
I am so thankful you took the time to let me know of your experience.  There are two types of emails I love opening, pictures of my grandson Jay and happy letters from customers!  I get tons of grateful customer letters and not nearly enough pictures (I hope you are reading this Jenny).
Your note only confirms what many of us have learned the hard way.  It seems the good old days of customer service have given way to automated and outsourced call centers.  Let me share one of my experiences.
I recently bought a laptop online from a major computer supplier.  As you can imagine, the order was not correct, requiring me to call customer support.  I knew I was in trouble when the call was answered by one of those automated menus where I was presented with fifty different options.  Trying to deduct the correct one was a challenge in itself.  Since my particular problem wasn’t on the list, I used the scientific method of  "eenie, meenie, miny, moe... what to press, I don't know".
This resulted in my being connected with a very nice individual who I believe really wanted to assist me.  However, he and I were half way around the world from each other and both of us were having a difficult time understanding the other.  He tried to verify my 9 digit order number several times and was unable to do so.  I suggest he transfer me to someone else, which he gladly did.  Round two.
I was transfered to Kevin (there is zero chance this man's name was actually Kevin).  I still struggled to communicate clearly, but we did better this time.  After a difficult conversation, Kevin informed me I should be speaking to someone in another department and states he is transferring me.  Before I can object or plead for help, I am transferred back to the original phone menu and am forced to start over.
As you can imagine, it doesn't go any better the second time around, and I eventually sat the phone down (with a bit of force) and gave up.  I concluded I would simply send the laptop back and source it from another company; resolving my problem with this one simply wasn’t worth the pain.  Evidently, the upper management of that company had never called their support, or they certainly would have changed something.
At Canary, we do things quite differently.  During normal business hours, we answer the phone directly.  No menus, no robots, just real people picking up, usually in less than three rings.  After hours, we pay a professional service to do the same thing.  Regardless of when you call, you are guaranteed to speak with talented team members that understand our product, know how to address your issue, and can communicate clearly.
Our support works hard to properly resolve your issue in a timely fashion.  If they don’t know the answer, they have full authority to go directly to the software engineering department for additional assistance.  I would like to say we always have the answer to your issue readily available, but the truth is sometimes we don't.  We occasionally encounter odd problems and stand alone issues that require time to “figure things out”.  When this happens, we keep the customers informed and begin working on a solution.  Our end goal is simple, we want to deliver a product that exceeds your expectations and always provide phenomenal value in our solution as well as our service.
I thank you for your kind compliment, it really does mean a lot to myself and the entire Canary team.
Gary Stern
President and Founder
Canary Labs

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Jeff Knepper

Written by Jeff Knepper